Breakfast in Sri Lanka: What to Eat?

Are you the sort of traveller who believes that when you’re “in Rome, do as the Romans do?” When it comes to food, it means dining at places where the locals eat, and eating your way through a list of must-try foods in the country. When in Sri Lanka, eating as the locals do means that your days will start off on a fiery note, and your tastebuds will be tantalised by an eclectic mix of spicy, tangy, sweet and savoury flavours…

Sri Lanka Pittu


Dip these cylindrical treats into curry or rich coconut milk, and let the gravy soften the texture of the rolls before consuming them.


Ooh hoppers! A fond favourite among locals and travellers alike, this circular dish has a crispy outer crust and a thick center with a chewy, spongy texture. To indulge in this treat, shred the hoppers into smaller pieces, mix them up with a variety of relishes or curries and pop a fiery portion into your mouth. For a heartier meal, try egg hoppers, where an egg is broken into the center of the hoppers.

Sri Lanka Breakfast String Hoppers

String Hoppers

Also known as idi appa, this local dish is made from a batter of rice flour and water. The batter is then squeezed onto wicker mats through a mould, producing a mass of stringy treats with a delicate bite. String hoppers are best savoured with a fiery coconut sambol or coconut milk gravy, but are also consumed with a diversity of meat and vegetable curries.


Wheat flour, mixed with a variety of ingredients such as grated coconut, onions and chillies are shaped into small rounds before being cooked on a heavy skillet. Soft and tender, with the coconut adding a bite to the texture and the chilies brining a fiery touch to the taste, rotis are the perfect accompaniment to curries and sambols.

Sri Lanka Buffalo Curd

Buffalo Curd

A versatile treat that serves well as a breakfast, snack or dessert, the buffalo curd boasts a thick and creamy consistency, and is made from the milk of the water buffalo. It is eaten along with a sweet syrup, a sap extracted from the kithul palm tree.


These diamond-shaped cakes are made from boiling rice in creamy coconut milk. A festive treat that symbolises joy, it is often consumed during celebrations and auspicious occasions. You can choose to have it spicy or sweet, so bring some heat to your palate by consuming it with a selection of spicy relishes, or have it as a dessert with jaggery or bananas.

Sri Lanka Kola Kenda

Kola Kenda

Is that a thick smoothie, or a veggie healthy soup? Well, no – this popular herbal rice porridge is a thick broth made with rice, coconut milk and herbal leaves, and usually consumed with jaggery. A wholesome treat perfect for individuals who wish to start their day on a salubrious note, the kola kenda can be found at roadside stalls lining the streets.

Fruit Platter

Laden with vitamins and fibre, a fresh fruit platter is likely to be the breakfast of choice for health junkies keen on starting their days in a wholesome manner. Pineapples, papayas and mangoes fill up the plate, and may be served along with tea or fruit juices.

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